Former Bellator champion Joe Soto experienced a whirl-wind 24 hours that no other fighter has gone through, accepting a world title fight for the UFC bantamweight title Saturday night at UFC 177.
Despite giving T.J. Dillashaw everything he had, Soto fell in the main event after taking a head-kick and a right-hand that finished him in the fifth round.
“My dream came true,” Soto said. “It was just an honor, a privilege to fight here. I love the UFC and I always wanted to be here since I was a kid.
“This was a dream come true.”
Soto was scheduled to make his Octagon debut against Anthony Birchak just weeks after fighting for the Tachi Palace Fights title. Instead, he was tabbed as the replacement for Renan Barao after the former champion had issues before weigh-ins.
Originally set for a three-round fight on the prelims, the former Iowa Central Community College All-American said the switch to five rounds was no issue.
“Anybody who knows me knows I don’t train for three rounds or five rounds,” he said. “I train for the worse situations. I’m old-school.”
Soto had his six-fight win streak snapped, falling to 15-3 overall.